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Types of Key Blanks, Do You Know Them ALL?

How many different styles, shapes, and materials of keys are out there? Now, if you're new, this information should be really helpful to you to understand what's out there and why. If you've been around for a while, let's see if you know at all.

Now, when it comes to working with keys, what is by far most important is knowing the right keyway, because it has to slide into the lock and work. Once we understand what keyway, next up is understanding the different options when it comes to the type of material used, the shape of the head of the key. You might be surprised just how many options are out there. On top of these, you're going to have all of your different fancy styles, decorated painted keys, and that sort of thing. But, today is about the different materials and shapes and why you would want to use one over the other.

 Vintage keys and locks


The standard SC1 Brass Key is the one that looks like a Schlage key. It's 100% brass. This is standard so, you see a lot of these.

Standard SC1 Brass Key

Next is the Nickel Plated version of SC1 key. This is a brass key with nickel plate over it. The question is, ‘Why is it there?’ And the reason is it helps it to last longer. So, by putting that nickel plate over it, it'll help slow down the wear of the key.

The Nickel Silver version. Like the first couple showed with brass and nickel plates on them, this key has nickel silver.


I think you should know especially in a high-use situation, it's important to match up the material on the pins inside the lock to the actual key material. For Schlage in particular, the pins used are nickel silver pins, and that's why you also see the original nickel silver keys. It is because when the pins and the key material are matched, it reduces the wear. So in a high-use environment, switching out bottom pins if you can from brass to nickel silver, and or both even better, the key material can help to slow down the wear.

A Neuter Bow key is just a brass key with the SC1 keyway, but the head is large and blank on both sides. This key is great if you want to stamp or engrave your company's logo or the customer is asking you to numbers or letters on the key. The Neuter Bow’s head gives you a good canvas to do what you need to do.

 Neuter Bow Key

The Neuter Bow (Do Not Duplicate version) is the same as the Neuter Bow key but it has no duplicate stamped on it from the factory. It's nice, perfectly straight, and crisp. You still have the whole other side that you can also stamp or engrave any sort of letters or numbers or company logo.

Neuter Bow Key - Do Not Duplicate

The SC1 Big Head key has the same head shape to the standard SC1 brass key; the difference is the SC1 Big Head key has much larger head. A larger head makes the key more visible and an easy grip.

 SC1 Big Head Key

The SC1 Hotel Head Key is made out of nickel silver due to the high use or high wear environment that these keys are typically found in. It has the nice block where you can stamp your company name or room number. With it being nickel silver and being large, it fills a couple of needs:

  • you could use it as a neuter bow key if you needed a high use environment.
  • you could even use it in situations where people are having hard time seeing or gripping.

 SC1 Hotel Head Key

There you have it, all of the different options available for different metal style keys. I showed you all of these in the Schlage SC1 key, however, almost all of these are available in a ton of different keyways.

So, I hope this information helps you understand what's available in the different situations into why you would want to use one of them, and it'll help you be a better lock boss.

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